Saskia Werners

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TiszaJan2005 0522CI red.JPG Increasing evidence of global change creates an environment of great uncertainty. A basic challenge of water management is finding ways to cope with changing conditions and an increasingly uncertain natural disturbances regime. In research areas other than water management, diversification has been shown successful in increasing adaptive capacity, learning and innovation. However the relationship between diversity and the ability to cope with uncertain stresses has been a neglected research topic in river basin management. For long river basin management has focussed on selecting the most cost effective measure to cope with a specific quantified stress. The underlying structure of how diverse water system services and their users interact with the full range of the natural disturbances regime has been addressed rarely. The relationship of diversification and adaptive capacity remains largely unexplored.

The objective of my research is to evaluate how diversification of water system services and their use can support adaptive capacity in managed river basins at different scales in time and space.

One of the questions I would like to explore with you is the possibility of a consequential upper limit to diversification and robustness in the light of adaptive processes and external perturbations.

Based at the Centre for Water and Climate of Wageningen University and Research Centre, my research builds on the case study river basins and network of the European research project NeWater ([1]). Before joining the centre I worked as as policy advisor for the Dutch Ministry of Housing, Spatial Planning and the Environment and for the consultant Resource Analysis on assignments in Europe, Asia and the Americas.

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